Now if for some reason you are under the impression Brazil is the land of hospitality and tourism, let me correct a few misleading rumors. Hotels for example. Let us just say they aren't into how the world might define "luxury" In fact, I would say they aren't into how the world might define "comfortable" either. With Norm's second visit to Brazil, in these past few months, we decided to book a wonderful vacation. Flying to Santeram, we would spend three days in a small town called Altor do Chao and return to Belem by a boat cruise down the Amazon River. Two and a half days from Santeram to Belem with nothing but each other. How too true that turned out to be.
Belem having only one flight to Santeram, we boarded the aircraft at the wonderful hours of 1130 pm and arrived at our destination's airport around 1 am. Not being safe enough to take a taxi at night to Altor do Chao we eagerly requested a drop off at our lovely pre-booked hotel. I mean the photos on the website were beautiful, the four star rating calling our name. You can imagine our delightful surprise to learn room rentals at this hotel come with permanent guests. Yes bugs galore! And that was really the best part. I think it was the smell that did me in. Like that old, wet mildew, sent that reminds you of grandmas house. Yes, like I was stuck in an old closet at Grandma's too affriad to breath deeply, but in desperate need of oxygen. The bathroom however, smelt more like a heavy lead or paint fumes maybe. The good news was this smell at times seemed to be less potent. The bad news was this was when the water wasn't running. I think Norm and I passed on showers, teeth-brushing, and all "water" related activities really.
Both having our own missirable travel experiences, we put on a smile, all our clothes and fell fast asleep atop the sheets. Anything is do able for one night.
|Their fire safety system. Notice anything missing?|
|If cameras could capture smells this would be too repulsive for public viewing|
So getting a bright and early start on our day, we relaxed in the cab riding along the windy Santeram roads, through lush green lands with small communities of huts, soccer fields, and roadside shacks. After about a half hour we arrived in Altor do Chao. Being such a small town, people don't know roads but they know houses by the people who live in them. Asking for directions proved useless until we learned to ask for "Felicio's House" and not the the street names. Within moments we arrived at heavens door step.
The next three days were a whirlwind of napping, book reading, hammock laying, river swimming, and well, more hammock laying. We would take the LONG 5 minute walk into town only for survival needs... ie. dinner.
|Resuming the position|
|Our Backyard River|
|Being the "Rainy Season" the river at its highest levels but if you look closely you can see the reminisce of the top of straw roofs from the small bars that usually exists in the big island river.|
|Our mode of transportation|
|Our Heaven House!|
Our outdoor shower and entrance to the house...where do you think Norm is?
|The color of the running water and our lovely 'private' shower to the right of the toilet|
|How we spent out evenings. River Sunset|
|Typical "town" on the Amazon River. 3 houses and a church.|